According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 18.1 percent of American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder each year. Approximately 30 percent of adults suffer from insomnia, a common symptom of anxiety disorders.
Antidepressants and anxiolytics are most commonly used for treating anxiety. Anticonvulsants, alpha and beta blockers and atypical antipsychotics may also be used in the treatment of anxiety.
Antidepressants increase levels of norepinephrine and/or serotonin, two neurotransmitters associated with depression and anxiety, in the brain. Benzodiazepines increase production of GABA, a neurotransmitter that induces calming effects at higher levels.
If a medication for anxiety does not treat insomnia, a sleep aid may be used. Non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics such as Lunesta, Ambien and Sonata, Rozerem, a medication that increases melatonin production and trazodone may be used in conjunction with antianxiety medications for treating insomnia.
Sedative/hypnotics such as Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata have been associated with memory lapses and performance of complex behaviors while sleeping, such as sleep driving or engaging in sexual intercourse while asleep.
Benzodiazepines and sedative/hypnotics may lead to psychological and physical dependency, so long-term use is not advised.